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History as Re-Enactment – R. G. Collingwood's Idea of History - Oxford Scholarship Online
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History as Re-Enactment: R. G. Collingwood's Idea of History

William H. Dray


A central motif of R. G. Collingwood's philosophy of history is the idea that historical understanding requires a re-enactment of past experience. However, there have been sharp disagreements about the acceptability of this idea, and even its meaning. This book aims to advance the critical discussion in three ways: by analysing the idea itself further, concentrating especially on the contrast which Collingwood drew between it and scientific understanding; by exploring the limits of its applicability to what historians ordinarily consider their proper subject-matter; and by clarifying the relat ... More

Keywords: R. G. Collingwood, historical understanding, past experience, scientific understanding, place of imagination, historical inquiry, the individual, narrative, periodisation

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1999 Print ISBN-13: 9780198238812
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198238812.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

William H. Dray, author
University of Ottawa